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Start Exploring Majors

Students walking through the quad in the afternoon.

The Who/What/How of the Major Exploration Process

Step 1: Self-Assessment

  • “Who”
    • Learn more about yourself and what you want out of a job before you explore various majors and careers. You can start cataloging this self-knowledge by focusing on four different categories:
      • Personality – Your personality should fit with a career increase your satisfaction with your work. Are you social? Do you crave organization? Do you prefer to be indoors or outdoors?
      • Interests – What do you like to do in your free time? What do you like to learn about, talk about, read about, etc.?
      • Skills – A major/career should fit with your skills as well. Are you comfortable with math? How do you learn and use technology? Can you be creative in your work?
      • Values – What is important to you in a career?  There are intrinsic (intangible) and extrinsic (tangible) values to consider when exploring careers. Consider:
        • variety and change at work
        • helping others or society
        • opportunities to express your creativity
        • working for a good cause
        • having control/power/authority
        • travel
        • individual or team work
        • regular or variable work hours

Step 2: Use Your Resources

  • “What”
    • Utilize various resources to explore career options, research careers of interest, obtain useful job market information, and learn how potential careers align with who you are.
      • Boise State Catalog
        • Become familiar with all of the Boise State degrees. Review the summary of programs and courses in the Undergraduate Catalog to see all of the possibilities. 
      • Major Finder 
        • An interactive tool to explore, search and filter your Boise State degree options based on your interests.
      • Online Presentations
        • The Advising and Academic Support Center, in collaboration with various departments, has developed a Prezi series describing what you can do with certain majors.
  • Career Center Modules
    • The Boise State Career Center offers a Virtual Career Center with useful online resources for students exploring majors and careers. Modules 1, 2, and 4 are particularly helpful for exploring students.

Step 3: Explore Careers

  • “What” continued
    • After your self-assessment and review of majors, you can look more closely at the careers that align with your interests and passions.  
      • Occupational Outlook Handbook
        • Use the Occupational Outlook Handbook to research potential careers. Things you’ll learn include work environments, salary figures, job outlook percentages, duty summaries, and relatable skills. Exploring students can learn about the education pathway to a certain job by using the “How to Become One” tab on a career page.
    • What can I do with this major?
      • Use this link to the Career Center website to help with making decisions about your prospective major or career path.
    • ACAD 197: Major Exploration
      • Want more structured assistance in exploring the WHO, WHAT, and HOW of major and career exploration? Boise State offers a 2-credit course, taught by a major exploration advisor, that guides students through the exploration process.

Final Steps

  • “How”
    • After you have identified a potential major, you’re ready to think about how you’ll decide if it is your best option.
      • Meet with an academic advisor within the college or department of the major you are considering.
      • Take a University Foundations class in an area of interest such as Psychology 101 or History 100.
      • Conduct an informational interview or job shadow a professional in a potential career.
      • Obtain a part-time job or internship to gain experience.
      • After you have decided:
        • update your Major/Minor Plan
        • meet with an advisor in your major and create an academic plan


Contact the Advising and Academic Support Center
Call: (208) 426-4049
Location: SMASH building, first floor

Student Testimonials

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"Would recommend her to any of my friends"

"Ms. Rice was very helpful and answered all of the questions I went into the appointment ready to ask. She even answered questions I did not even know I had. She helped me feel less anxious about where I currently am at in my education as well as offered a class that I did not know BSU offered, but that I am now extremely interested in. She was very friendly and would recommend her to any of my friends needing academic advisement."

Toree Denmark